ALM Legal Intelligence is reporting that across the US law firms overall have seen their biggest decline in revenues per lawyer (RPL) in 2011 since they started tracking information in 1985. Larger firms took the biggest hits, going down as much as 10%. Smaller firms under 75 lawyers, however, actually saw increased revenues.
This followed declines in 2008 and 2009 with a bit of a rebound with growth in RPL in 2010. The report does not indicate why revenues are down in larger firms, but one guess is the lackluster merger & acquisition market and the lack of new venture and private equity funds being created. Just a guess though. There is optimism, however, as most expect this year to see increased RPL.
Another interesting part of the study, which surveyed 10,000 attorneys, is that alternative fee arrangements such as flat fee billing simply have not taken off. Most say that these alternative deals are less than 10% of their billings. I think that's a shame. For 20 years I have been charging flat fees on most corporate transactional work and the clients (and I) really like it. We'll save that for another post.
For additional insights on reverse mergers, SPACs, other alternatives to traditional initial public offerings, the small and microcap markets and the economy, visit the Reverse Merger and SPAC Blog by David N. Feldman, Esq., Partner of Richardson & Patel LLP.
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